Androecium: what it is, parts and function
Androecium definition: We want to continue increasing your knowledge in botany and helping you to better understand the fascinating world of plants. Among the most important parts of the flower are the stamens or the androecium, which is the male reproductive system, whose function is to create what is known as pollen in order to ensure the reproduction of the plant.
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What is androecium and its characteristics
Androecium definition: The set of masculine organs of the flower or stamens is called androecium . Known within botany as the male whorl, it is responsible for the production of male gametes that are found between the pollen grains. Generally, the androecium is located near the gynoecium or female reproductive system . Specifically in the perianth, which is nothing more than the set of floral leaves that offer support and protection to the flower.
There are, therefore, several types of androecium that are classified by how the stamens are presented in the different species.
- Let’s bet: when the stamens are completely free from each other
- Fasciculated: when the stamens originate from the same point of union.
- Monodelfo: when the filaments are united forming a layer that completely covers the style of the flower. This type of androecium is very characteristic in Malvaceae.
- Diadelphus: when the filaments are joined in pairs. In this case, this type of androecium is typical of leguminous plants.
- Synandry: when the anthers and filaments are fused into a single compact structure. Own cucurbits.
- Syngenesis: this type of androecium is very common in the composites. It is characterized by having the anthers united while the filament remains free.
It is important to know that the stamens are complex and diverse organs that have a short life. In addition, the androecium varies depending on the type of plant, being able to even merge with other parts of the flower, as is the case with the orchid family. In the same way, they also present different types of unions in order to favor the future reproduction of the plant.
Androecium definition: In the androecium, in addition to pollen , what is known as nectar is also produced . The nectar is a liquid solution very rich in sugars that fulfills the function of attracting animals to increase the chances of fertilization of the plant. We can say that, in addition to the attractive coloration of the petals, the stamens are another of the fundamental pieces to ensure optimal pollination of flowering plants .
Parts of the androecium
The androecium is divided into two parts: the filament and the anther. Each of them makes up what is known as the stamen or male organ of the flower. In fact, the androecium is formed by a set of stamens or microphylls responsible for generating pollen.
The filament is a sterile structure by which a union is created between the stem and the flower . Thanks to its epidermis rich in cutin, it is easy to differentiate it from the rest of the flower parts. Inside there is a parenchyma or plant tissue through which a vascular bundle circulates. In addition, the filament is the part of the androecium responsible for supporting and maintaining the anthers . There are also flowers without a filament.
Located at the upper end of the filament , the anther is a fertile structure made up of thecae. The thecae, made up of between two and four pollen sacs, are responsible for producing pollen . Normally, the thecae are joined together by connective tissue and both their color and shape are highly variable.
Once the male gametes have matured, the anther opens to release the pollen and facilitate the reproduction of the plant. This phenomenon is known as dehiscence. Depending on how the anther opens, we differentiate between longitudinal, transverse or poricidal dehiscence.
Androecium function: The main function of the androecium is the production of the male gametes that make up the flower’s pollen . This process is carried out inside the pollen sacs located in the anther in order to ensure the reproduction of the plant.
It is also responsible for giving subjection and joining the stem with the rest of the parts of the flower. In addition, it gives additional protection to the gynoecium or female reproductive organ.
In the same way, the androecium is responsible for drawing the attention of pollinators thanks to the coloration and striking shapes of the stamens, as well as through the production of nectar, which is capable of attracting and feeding the animals in charge of helping during the pollination process.